FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Creating space starts with movement. Finding the gaps is easier when you try to float your way into them. Pass and move, as the Amsterdam- and Barcelona-based adherents to the discipline might say.
New England midfielder Kelyn Rowe and his teammates embrace those fundamental principles, even if they apply them a bit differently. They combine neatly in midfield to create openings. Sometimes, those avenues appear behind the defense or out in the wide areas. Lately, they've been cropping up between the opposing lines, resulting in 12 goals in their last five games.
Rowe's recent outburst – five goals in the past five matches – reflects his ability to adjust to the landscape in front of him and take advantage of the opportunities presented to him.
“They've been dropping off lately,” Rowe told MLSsoccer.com. “I've found a lot of gaps. I have gotten two lucky deflections that have helped me get in, but I'll take the goals.”
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Revolution coach Jay Heaps preached the need for more goals from midfield this season before the campaign started. And as any coach would say, there's always room for more.
Rowe's emergence as one of those desired goal-scoring threats took a bit of time – the second-year pro scored just twice in 22 appearances before this prolific spell.
“This is the Kelyn Rowe we see most of the time in training,” Heaps said. “I think you're seeing glimpses in the game. Those finishes, for me, are a bonus. The work he does, the competitive nature he brings every day is spot on.”
The diligence shows on the field now. Rowe combines ably with Scott Caldwell and Lee Nguyen in the middle of the park, Diego Fagundez and the other selected attacking player on the other flank and with Juan Agudelo or Dimitry Imbongo at the top. He feeds off the movement of his teammates and uses the space created to exert a greater impact on the game.
Although Rowe reaps most of the benefits in front of goal right now, he understands he owes a portion of his individual success to the collective work of his teammates.
“We've done a lot of it,” Rowe said. “If one player gets it off, we're looking for the next pass rather than just waiting. I think it's a big key, and it creates a lot of holes in defenses.”
Those openings matter only so much without the anticipation required to fill them and the potency to exploit. Rowe – and his teammates, for that matter – continue to reap the benefits from their desire to ally those qualities with their philosophical approach to produce the intended results.